Road safety concerns over school expansion plans

A 3D artist's impression of the new block at Ormiston Victory Academy on Middleton Crescent, Costess

A 3D artist's impression of the new block at Ormiston Victory Academy on Middleton Crescent, Costessey. Picture: Norfolk County Council - Credit: Norfolk County Council

Local people and councillors are urging road safety improvements amid concerns of extra traffic if a major school expansion plan is approved.

Norfolk County Council children's services has applied to build a new stand-alone three-story block, which would include 14 classrooms, on part of the playing field of Ormiston Victory Academy on Middleton Crescent, Costessey.

If approved by the council, it would allow the school to teach 1,500 11-16-year-olds, compared to the current 1,200.

Ormiston Victory Academy at Costessey. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Ormiston Victory Academy at Costessey. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: copyright: Archant 2014

Costessey Town Council has major concerns over the extra traffic which would be generated in a "congested area".

Its members recommended the plans were approved as long as mitigation measures were in place, either through S106 agreements or highway improvements including speed ramps, improved junctions, double yellow lines and new crossings.

There were also concerns over the the loss of green space but councillors appreciated ideas for areas where parents could drop off and pick up children on the school grounds.

Laura Hewitt, who lives on the road leading up to the school, said on the planning website: "The road is already busy and dangerous enough as it is during school opening and closing time. The road needs speed bumps at least before increasing the schools capacity."

The planning statement said: "Norfolk County Council children’s services has identified the need to expand teaching provision at Ormiston Victory Academy to accommodate the increase in residential growth in Costessey and subsequent demand for more school places.

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"There is limited option for siting the new class base block. The siting has been devised to ensure no loss of formal sports pitch provision."

"The staff and pupil movements to and from the school would increase from the proposal, but the social benefit is clear and the necessity to increase school spaces in the area to cope with the expanding community in Costessey would be met.

"Whilst the proposal would not result in any highways issues because of this, there may be an impact on residential amenity to the west of the site. However, the social benefit from the necessary expansion of the school would more than outweigh the limited additional impact."

As part of the plans, the older buildings, which received planning permission in 2012, would be refurbished and 42 extra car parking spaces and 60 extra bike spaces will be created.

The work would take place between this summer and next summer if approved. 

Naomi Palmer, principal of Ormiston Victory Academy.

Naomi Palmer, principal of Ormiston Victory Academy. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Naomi Palmer, principal for Ormiston Victory Academy, said: “These exciting new plans will transform life at the academy for the better. With more space, as well as outstanding creative facilities, we will be able to expand our support for the young people of Costessey and beyond."

John Fisher, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for children's services. Picture: Norfolk County

John Fisher, cabinet member for children's services on Norfolk County Council. - Credit: Norfolk County Council

John Fisher, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “We are committed to investing in developing the county’s schools to help ensure that more children can get a school place close to where they live and that they are learning in modern classrooms with modern facilities. This exciting scheme is designed to achieve that.”

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